Reflections on Gratitude at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time we as Americans reflect on that for which we have to be thankful. On the eve of Thanksgiving day, I thought it an appropriate time to reflect on gratitude and on all that for which and for whom I am thankful.

I am thankful for a large loving family and that we all live in Northeast Georgia (except for daughter, Claire, who moved to LA this past spring). We get together about every month or so to celebrate birthdays at local places like Rooster's Cafe. I have 11 nieces and nephews and four great nieces and nephews. And when we celebrate a birthday, they all come. As the oldest of five siblings, I never had children of my own. But I did get a bonus, a lovely daughter Claire, and another mom (who loves me as much as my real mom) when I married David Stovall almost three years ago. I'm blessed to have found a soul mate that shares so many of my passions and loves - aviation and flying, Rotary International and our work, selling real estate. Our sweet daddy passed a year ago yesterday. I miss him but find peace and comfort in knowing that he's no longer suffering and that we'll all be together again one day. My 94 year old 'Granny' made a cake for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow.

Granny making a cake for this year's Thanksgiving dinner.

My other mother, Allene Stovall, still beautiful at 88 years young.  We get our nails done together every month.
With Claire in New York City, one of my favorite places to be during the Christmas holidays.

I am thankful for my heritage and that I was raised in a small town, Dawsonville GA. Small town America. I was raised being told that I could be anything I wanted to be, and I'm hopeful kids are still told that. I have traced my paternal roots to my grandfather, Abraham Cochran, of Scottish-Irish descent who arrived in Dawson County in the early 1800s prior to the Gold Rush. I treasure memories of summer vacations camping, fishing and riding dirt bikes at the base of little known Cochran Falls in Dawson County, the 2nd largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. I still love walks in the woods, especially in that area, and I'm thankful David loves being outside as much as I do. I'm thankful we can so easily get out for a walk in the woods, and that David carries a stove and likes to cook lunch.

Dawsonville GA, my home town

One of the last times we were all together as a family, at Amicalola Falls

With my sisters and my mom walking in the woods near Cochran Falls in Dawson County
David prepares a gourmet lunch at Blood Mountain.

I am thankful for friendships and relationships, many of whom I consider as family. Some of you I have met through work, some through flying, some at church, and some through Rotary. Rotary has become our life work not only because of how the relationships we encounter through Rotary enrich our lives, it gives us an opportunity to do God's work on earth. When I recently described to my sister Kayla (at 16 years younger, more like my daughter than a sister) what The Rotary Foundation does, she said, "Isn't that what the Bible says we are supposed to do?" Saving mothers and children, preventing disease, providing clean water, building local economies, promoting peace and educating young children. I wish I could name all of you who make my life so rich, just by knowing you and calling you my friend. I love that I can call you when I need to vent or share a happy moment. And as much as I treasure hearing the voices of those I love, it's wonderful that we can catch up on this thing we call Facebook at all hours of the day and night. The world has become a much smaller world.

Governor classmate Marshall Butler's daughter befriended two young girls at a Girls Home in Jamaica where we installed a peace garden.

I am thankful for Duke, my 11 year old black lab, our two year old Havanese pup, Maxx, and an eight year old rescue cat, Opus. Their expression of unconditional love is something from which we could all learn. I am thankful that I get to start most mornings seeing their unbridled happiness at going out for a walk. We treasure evenings watching them rest in front of a roaring fire.

Thankful for Maxx and Duke

Thankful they like back porch sitting as much as I do.

Thankful I can see this from the back porch.

I am thankful that I am healthy and feel great most days. I'm thankful that I've learned to accept my body as a gift from God. I am less critical of myself every day. I wish I knew how good I looked ten or twenty years ago. And I tell myself that if I'm still around, I'll probably say the same thing about how I look now in ten or twenty years. Our culture puts too much emphasis on what's on the outside instead of what's on the inside. I'm thankful I have figured out that it's more important to know what's on the inside.

I'm thankful for sleep when I'm tired, a back porch to sit on, and a great meal when I'm hungry. I'm thankful Waffle House is close by and always open. I'm thankful we have four seasons and that it gets dark early this time of year.

Celebrating a birthday lunch with my friend for whom I am thankful, Janet Allison
We met at a ladies only gym in the 90s where we worked out every morning at 5:30 am.  This unlikely friendship has endured and I'm thankful for you, Sandra Miskotten.

I wish for you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving weekend. 


  1. That was wonderful I am grateful for all the wonderful cousins I have including you.

    1. We are truly blessed, C.J. Hope you can make it to dinner tomorrow evening. Love you, Kim

  2. Love your gratitude and reflection.
    Even more is my Love of You Sis!
    Thank you for Sharing


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